Vs remaining AI, a bribed neutral AI also attacked me in TB(8 tick jump). I had finally built up enough of a Science lead to gain a level of Weapons and a few levels of Scanning and Hyperspace Range each cycle. One of these tech levels would allow me to bribe 4 of the leading AI at the turn jump from -1 regard back to 0 neutral. The other tech level leads would allow me to trade and keep up with the aggressive AI trading. Since my lead was 85 vs 33 stars by the next AI, I had to bribe every 24 ticks to maintain neutrality on my border.
My empire coasted at 2nd place, 31 stars, for over 2000 ticks, until recently leapfrogging into the star count lead to KO two of the AI. The greater of these foes reached 29 stars, but my long campaign involved abandoning a star before taking the next AI star. Then I planned for a sudden gain of over 25 stars/48 ticks via well-timed carrier launches to claim empty periphery stars, abandoned stars and capturing 6 of the enemy held AI stars. My tech focus on Terraform allowed rapid EIS development as I ascended.
I built up a modest picket force on the Cyan Square frontier during the lengthy campaign against Blue Circle.
Initially needed expensive bribes of $14k-15k credits to raise regard from -1 to 0 neutral since my tech levels were a bit behind. Then shifted to Experimentation or Terraform tech bribes as I caught up. Now I can use harmless Range or Hyperspace tech bribes from my own research. Much cheaper too, and it also allows me to trade for Manufacturing, Banking, or Experimentation from any of the 4 leading AI every cycle, so I never fall behind again.
I was one level of Weapons behind at the start of the latest cycle (tick2496), and I set my research for banking to utilize a bonus of 5328 research points, followed by weapons, both of which would complete within the 8 tick jump. Having a sizable 4782 rp balance for Weapons, I was reluctant to trade, and figured to just research the rest of it myself.
The AI attacked at a range of 6 or 7 ticks travel time to Aldhafera.
Part of me wanted to speed up fleet dispositions to attack my next big AI target to wrap up this galaxy. I routed a carrier to garrison that star with just 1 fighter. 443669 ships were removed just 1 tick ahead of the major AI offensive against me.
The 355269 ships sent against me would have easily lost against the 443669 my carrier removed. I had over 400k ships on that star when the AI launched against me.
Prior games vs AI have shown a pattern on their part to build up on the border star and launch when they had sufficent forces to take a star away from me. The difference this time is that my 400+k ships were parked on that star for 6 ticks. How did the AI know I was going to just garrison 1 this time of all times???
This is a dark galaxy.
Other suspected factors holding back AI from attacking include:
differential fleet size (CS is bigger than me)
Weapons tech (CS was ahead by one before launching)
travel distance (They tend to not attack beyond range 18)
The AI with largest fleet and weapons combo will have the “attack live player Baton” when only 1 live player remains.
Up to tick 2504. the conquered AI’s have mainly launched fleets to abandoned stars, and stars they wanted to defend from my attacks, There was just a single withering attack that I defended via WG purchase and fleet movement.
I was staging my fighters away from the Cyan Square front to start a campaign against Blue Square, But now I have to backpedal and stop this aggression, before I am fully prepared. No longer sure what amount to garrison the borders with other AI.